I wrote an article for CeltsAreHere.com in the immediate aftermath of the last Rangers v Celtic league match – the article must be lying on the cutting room floor. I wholeheartedly agree that it was not my best work. A masterpiece it was most certainly not.
I had titled it, ‘Confidence Comes Before A Fall’. It rambled and laboured more than I’d have liked. In hindsight, that much is clear.
I do, however, stand by every opinion that I expressed in the article – sadly in the heart of a marathon day of work, the piece went a little awry in my internal quality checking processes.
The article was based on the Lazarus like club over Govans’ way and its seemingly miraculous powers of recovery under the stewardship of the then temporarily anointed & once esteemed youth coach, Graham Murty.
As if given a new lease of life, their season, to all intents and purposes, appeared to be shaping up – indeed, the spirits of both players and fans, were lifted by the phoenix clubs’ apparent ascendancy from the ashes and flames of a crashed and burnt Pedro Caixinha regime – once the amiable little youth coach took over the rudderless vessel rusting away in Govans’ shipbuilding heartland.
These fledgeling shots of recovery were ultimately doomed to futility.
Akin to a ‘bolting plant’ – prematurely they were sown and began to emerge – it promised so much, but the conditions were never right, any one with a sense of the seasons ebbs and flows could see that they were fragile and susceptible to the massively variable conditions and pressures of the remaining winter season.
A few weeks to a month shy of being anything remotely considered to be a secure spring platform, the then budding Gers’ buoyed by their shots of growth, thought they’d stolen a ‘march’ upon the rivals they’ve been desperate to gain parity.
Sadly, for them at least, Celtics’ evergreen flora was holding back its growth somewhat – patiently building towards an emerging display of its true blossoming potential.
In the March contest, much like in December’s fixture, Celtic done only just enough to see out late winters harsh and unpredictably frosty morns – we whilst protectively and sensibly shielded by a self-imposed shade of our real potential, let the Govan club lap up all the sunshine the media and their fans could expose them to.
Even in the low sun of late winter, they withered and wilted and now lie flopped and flaccid – reminiscent of a weed exposed to an experienced gardeners timely poisoning potion.
I had called it, that back in December while Celtic toiled and flattered to deceive, they still had more than enough resources and momentum to have clipped Rangers stems. Instead, Celtic then impotently shot-shy and devoid of the energy that would have compensated for their dip in form, delivered Graham Murty and his squad with a nutrient rich dose of confidence.
In retrospect, that may perhaps have detracted from the great enjoyment the Celtic faithful revelled in yesterday and on which they will inevitably dine out again in just a few short weeks’ time.
This season is not likely to be remembered for its classic style as much as for its sum and substance. Celtic, by their own extremely loft and laudably high standards, have dipped slightly in terms of the entertainment value on fare for the vast, faithful fans.
Swashbuckling has been replaced by safe and sensible at times this season.
Perhaps by counterbalance, this season the real entertainment value may well be immortalised in the smiles, chuckles, the downright beaming smiles I witnessed during the calamitous and hapless Govan outfits toils and at times tantalizingly close efforts to gain even minor bragging rights over their more fashionable, successfully, attractive, affluent and vastly more respect-worthy neighbours.
Green eye envy has always been the cause of Rangers greatest downfalls.
The delight on the faces of the Celtic support, the volume of their bellows, was incredible during the short 15-minute window of hope, it seemed the Hoops’ willingly provided to their hapless foes during yesterday’s second half.
Celtic took 15 minutes off. Completely stood back and admired their work, all the while Morelos and his friends (or are they) throw the kitchen sink at the Celtic goal. It was car-crash tv and resembled something of a cross between the Comedy Channel and Sky Sports.
Hilarious though it was, it represented, albeit in microcosm, the last six years of Celtics’, the first six years of Rangers’ existence. It was tragedy, torment and tantrums on one hand; joy, confidence and revelry on the other.
The fractured, tormented Gers’ face yet another date with destiny courtesy of the season’s final league meeting of the sides, this time contested at Celtic Park with springs’ full bloom sure to be visible.
They cheered in a Rangers dressing room, the day the Scottish Cup draw threw them yet another bone, yet another opportunity to stop Celtics’ seemingly unhaltable juggernaut destined for a double treble – it afforded them a say in Celtics’ fate; something only credible in a one-off cup tie.
They found out on a post-Easter Sunday that their club is not figuratively speaking, in the same league as their desired rivals – after another hiding, perhaps they’ll wish it to be literally so.
In the springing of this year, the world may curiously but not in amazement gaze on the sight of those brave and battle-tested men in the green and white hoops’ ring the requiem bell for the slaughtered corpses of Scottish football rivals. From far and wide they travelled, all succumbing in a fog reminiscent haze of bewilderment.
How anyone regularly betters Celtic on domestic fronts, is a conundrum they will still be searching for answers to for many years to come.
Forget 10-in-a-row, the bars and flags can be raised much higher than that, so long as Celtic are willing to humbly harness, nurture & harvest the bountiful joys of historically sowing their seeds appropriately – the resources Celtic now have to hand are unmatchable by anyone else…ever!
And yes – yes, they do confer great sporting advantage!